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The boys walked, faces forward, arms swinging mechanically. Their eyes hung empty, mimicking the void of the warstruck desert. How funny it was that they were once children, naive, stomachs bubbling with laughter. Laughter was for the days when there weren't battles to win, lives to destroy. They had been trained to discard all emotions. It would be harder to shoot a man if they remembered he was human.

The boys thought of their mothers once, when a breeze passed through the blistering air and reminded them of the scent of their mothers’ shirts freshly laundered. They thought of her arms holding them tight against her chest. For a moment they longed to be held again. But then they felt the sun against their necks, and they forgot their mothers. Their minds filled up with blood and bullets. They marched onwards.

When the sun set, the cold crept out from the ground and into their chests. The commanders wouldn’t let them stop, they had a war to win. One by one they began to fall to their knees, sinking until the sand swallowed them whole. They left the bodies behind, kept on walking towards an end that would never approach.


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